After investigating the scene of a seemingly routine crash of a commercial airliner, United States authorities discover a substance later determined to be of extraterrestrial origin. Authorities subsequently confirm that there are aliens on Earth, and their response to this intelligence ensues.
Jake, a gifted sixteen-year-old high school student defined in his community by a tragic event, inherits superhuman cognitive abilities due to an alien encounter. Jake embarks upon a journey to use his new abilities to help mankind prepare for an eminent alien invasion. The seemingly invincible and impenetrable aliens, who roam undetected among earthlings, are methodically plotting their invasion since their home planet is dying and has nearly been depleted of all resources required to sustain life. It becomes a race against time as Jake tries to save the world.
Introspection: Transformation is the first installment of a trilogy.
|Publisher:||Prodigy Gold Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
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* * *
On his way to chemistry class, Jake was confronted with an onslaught of students' and faculty's trite greetings:
"How's it going, Jake?"
"What's up, Jake?"
Jake was numb to the attention because it happened whenever he was on school grounds no matter where he was. He wished things were the way they were before the incident when he was only visible to the people he cared about and vice versa. While he suspected these acts were an acknowledgment of his heroism and regret for what he had endured, the incident was merely something he tried to forget until each anniversary.
However, the walls riddled with campaign posters were a good distraction, especially since Jake found the girl running for class president to be beautiful. Additionally, he had wireless earbuds in his ears. Even though most times he wasn't listening to music, he pretended he was to minimize interaction with other students.
The next thing he knew, Jake was on the verge of falling asleep, with his head on his desk in his seventh-period advanced placement chemistry class, and a stream of highly viscous drool hanging down from his lips. His long hair was nearly covering the entire surface of his desk. Moments before falling asleep, Jake barely heard the words, "Today we're going to revisit the topic of entropy," from Joel Plonsker, his chemistry teacher.
"Jake, what is entropy?" Mr. Plonsker asked as a tactic to awaken Jake, although he was typically the only student either capable of or interested in answering any of the teacher's questions anyway.
In typical fashion, Mr. Plonsker had his hands inserted between his pants and tucked-in shirt, with his enormous belly overhanging the waist of his dress pants while pacing the classroom. Immediately bolting upright as if shocked by lightning, Jake answered, "Entropy is the amount of disorder, or randomness, in a system."
"And what does that mean?" Mr. Plonsker probed, transitioning Jake away from relying on his photographic memory and toward translating the complex concept into terms that his classmates could understand. The teacher absent-mindedly messed with the part in his greasy dark hair while he waited for the answer, a feeble attempt to conceal his baldness.
"Entropy is as a measure of how close a system is to equilibrium, and represents the amount of the disorder in the system."
"Excellent, Jake. Very good." Jake looked around to see his classmates rolling their eyes in disgust. He was not only Mr. Plonsker's favorite student but also all of the other teachers'. Anger abruptly displaced his uneasy feelings as he felt a spitball hit an exposed area on the back of his neck between clumps of unkempt, light blonde hair. The ball was moistened with the perfect amount of spit to affix itself to his neck until he peeled it off of his skin.
Mr. Plonsker transitioned into his lecture, and all Jake thought about was the uncertainty of his relationship with Julie Loren. They had been schoolmates since the second grade and began a romantic relationship earlier this school year. They were juniors. Jake reflected upon Julie's long, sandy blonde hair, six-foot-tall frame, and beautiful face, making him feel more upset.
"Jake, what is absolute zero?" Mr. Plonsker asked him after noticing he was distracted.
After a moment of silence, the teacher repeated the question in a sarcastic, high-pitched tone, "Ohhhhhhh Jake? What is absolute zero?"
Jake snapped out of his trance and responded, "Absolute zero occurs at zero entropy."
Jake was visibly frustrated by the attention, and said, "Meaning that no system can exist at absolute zero. I mean, life as we know it cannot exist at absolute zero."
"Very good." Again, the teacher's praise was followed by barely audible moans among Jake's classmates.
Given that class was nearing its end, and in light of his angst regarding the current state of his relationship with Julie, Jake blurted out, "I need to go to the bathroom." He stormed out of class and scrambled to his car, parked in the high school student parking lot.
Deciding to skip his eighth-period advanced placement biology, Jake drove his car to Cherokee Park in Louisville, Kentucky. He always went there when he was troubled. He parked and went into the deeply wooded area.
I'm such an idiot. What's my problem? Jake berated himself as he skipped a rock into a creek.
Not knowing what was straining his relationship with Julie, he assumed it was his fault. Why did I ask her to be my girlfriend? I should have just kept things as friends. Hell, we're both going to college in a year and a half, and at that point, our relationship will have no chance of surviving. Guys will eat her alive in college. What was I thinking?
Watching the rocks skip in the water and the ripples they created was soothing to Jake. The sun was unobstructed above the clouds and trees, creating a gold, glittery canvas on the water. Its reflection was nearly as bright as it would be if one were to look directly into the sun itself. The downside of the observation was it provided Jake with a visible reminder of the acne on his face and his six-foot-four-inch tall, chunky build.
Just as he was regaining his composure, Jake was startled by a noise he heard in a nearby bush.
"Who's there?" he yelled after picking up a flimsy stick and rock from the ground. There was no response, and Jake started to feel inexplicably dizzy. Suddenly, Jake detected an overpowering odor that smelled like flowers. He was perplexed since there were no flowers in bloom and only trees and bushes for many feet in all directions.
"Whooze thur?" he repeated in a slurred voice.
Just then, an elderly woman emerged from behind the bush. She was pale and appeared to be using all of her strength to make her way toward Jake slowly. She must have been close to one-hundred-years-old; she was nearly completely bald, with sparse and very long strands of white hair hanging down from her scalp, which was covered with brown age spots of various sizes. As she approached Jake by crawling along the grass, trying to avoid exposed tree roots, he found himself feeling drawn to her by force similar to what drives two droplets of water to reunite after being spilled on an impervious surface.
"Whoo ahh youuu? Whatz wong width youuu?" Jake's slurred speech continued.
The elderly woman uttered no words but continued crawling closer to Jake until she was near enough to grasp his hand. Immediately following contact, the elderly woman transformed into a light blue gas. Jake felt a jolt of electricity, became unconscious, and then collapsed to the ground.CHAPTER 2
* * *
"I don't mean to appear insensitive, but why is Luallen convening a closed urgent-action meeting, in the Pentagon of all places, regarding the commercial airliner crash last week?" Senior Master Sergeant Kent Jacobsen said as he was rushing to catch a taxi.
Kent was more concerned for his job security than he was about the purpose behind Chief Master Sergeant Greg Luallen convening the meeting itself. Luallen was a real hard-ass; he was one of the leading contributors to the attrition of FBI agents, and Kent did not want to become another addition to Luallen's growing list of casualties.
"I have no idea, but I'm sure he has a damn good reason," Senior Master Sergeant Emily Tyson responded nervously, as she, too, was concerned for her longevity in the FBI. "He's not one to coordinate these meetings just to see attendees' pretty faces," Emily continued.
"Couldn't he have picked another day for this meeting? It's pouring outside, and I'm buried in fieldwork," Kent said, trying to convince himself that whatever reason Luallen had for calling the meeting paled in comparison to his continuously growing inventory of commitments.
Emily did not respond to Kent's rhetorical question. She was uncomfortable discussing it with him even though she shared Kent's concern regarding the meeting that Luallen had organized. Emily did not want to intensify the stress from which Kent was already suffering.
Luallen was not known for coordinating closed urgent-action meetings, let alone ones that occurred at the Pentagon. He had only convened three of these meetings — none of them at the Pentagon — during his ten-year tenure with the United States Air Force and two-years as the Secretary of Defense.
"Hey, wake up. What the hell's wrong with you?" Kent shouted at the driver.
Kent knew the driver was tired because of the cab slightly swerving.
"We're on a schedule here, and today is not a good day to die," Kent continued.
As if lightning had struck the cab, the driver became alert, and all issues were eliminated.
"I'm so sorry," the driver responded. "I'm new to this tandem-driving technology; understanding these cars have been available for years, I only recently was able to afford one."
Numerous advances had been achieved in neurotechnology during the past twenty years. This particular cab, although not equipped with the latest technology, was powered and controlled by the driver's brain and physiology. This, and other alternatives needed to be formulated because of increasing radiation interfering with satellite-controlled self- driving vehicles.
"Take it easy, Kent. I'm sure he hasn't slept for days," Emily interjected, sympathizing with the cab driver.
Kent didn't acknowledge Emily. He was buried in the process of self- inventorying in his mind all of the facts he could recall from the crash.
Boeing 777-200 aircraft with two Pratt & Whitney PW4070/4090 turbofan engines, three-hundred twenty-six passengers, of which twelve were Tranquility Airlines crew members. No act of terrorism currently suspected due to reliable preliminary findings indicating the flawed integrity of the metal comprising one of the wings of the aircraft, causing the formation of fatigue cracks leading to wing failure. Review of the audio and video flight recorders did not reveal anything suspicious within the plane or related to any communications between the aircraft pilots and air traffic control.
Emily put her hand on Kent's hand, which was equipped with long and chubby fingers.
"We're here," she uttered in a tone similar to one that would be used when entering a theater in which a movie was underway.
Kent's entire bulky body quivered as if he had just reacted to a frightening scene in a horror movie. Notwithstanding his inventorying process had been interrupted, he was convinced there was no foul play involved regarding the crashed airliner. He was convinced that the plane crash was unfortunately attributed to a manufacturing or human error. Still, he was very concerned about Luallen's reason for coordinating this meeting.
Kent and Emily left the cab and proceeded to get drenched by the rain as they entered into the Pentagon.
"I hate this place. I always feel like I'm at a cemetery when I'm here," Kent said as he began shaking the rain off his clothes and swiping the rain from his light brown hair.
"You are so high-maintenance, Kent. Sometimes I think you're the woman in our partnership," Emily wittingly responded.
"This way, please," a security guard commanded.
"OK, take it easy. Can't I dry myself off first?" Kent directed toward the security guard, more out of embarrassment from Emily's comment and his inability to effectively formulate and vocalize an effective retort than from real displeasure.
After drying himself off and patting his ever-growing belly with both of his hands, the security guard led them through the main lobby, a security checkpoint, and then into a corridor. The corridor led to a series of elevators requiring rare security clearance that both Kent and Emily had been granted so they could attend the urgent-action meeting convened by Luallen. With an expressionless face, the security guard gestured Kent and Emily to enter the elevator.
"Level 12-C? Levels 12-A through 12-E? I've never seen that before," Emily expressed after focusing her attention on the digital elevator panel. "It's always just been 'level 12' from what I've seen," she continued. "You know ..."
She was cut off by the tone that sounded, the elevator indicating that the level of interest had been reached. The security guard inserted a device into a jack that only became visible to Kent and Emily once the device was close to the elevator panel. Upon entering the device into the jack, the elevator doors opened. The security guard left the elevator, placing his back to the chamber within which the retractable elevator door receded, and he motioned Kent and Emily forward.
"It's pitch dark in here," Kent said as he left the elevator. "I can't see my handsome reflection along the walls."
"Yeah right, Kent. Luckily for you, you don't have a visual reminder that you can stand to lose a good thirty pounds, and you continue to disable your BioSense implant, you fat ass," Emily said, poking Kent in his gut overhanging the waistline of his pants.
"Forgive me," the security guard responded.
A quick succession of three ringing tones sounded from his mobile device, and lights illuminated throughout the area. Kent's eyes were met with a long, sterile corridor. Several hallways extended on either side of him and Emily as they walked through the hall.
"Ah, yes. There I am," Kent said proudly, accentuating the part in his straight hair and improving the posture of his six-foot frame.
Kent's stomach sank, and his tall stature shrank once he noticed a heavily guarded door. He assumed that was where Luallen's urgent- action meeting was located. Sure enough, as they approached the protected area, two security guards opened the door.
Upon entering through the door, Luallen greeted Kent and Emily sarcastically. "Pleased you two could join us."
Rather than establishing eye contact with Luallen in response, the first person Kent and Emily saw upon entering the room was the President of the United States, who was sitting at the far end of a multi-purpose table facing them.
"What in the hell is she doing here?" Kent said softly to Emily.
"I'm the President of the United States. I believe that affords me the clearance to be wherever the hell I want to be at any point in time, does it not?" President Elyse Claring responded.
President Claring could have pierced a hole through Kent's chest with her intimidating glare. Her brown hair hung down over her shoulders and was uncharacteristically disheveled.
"Please forgive me, Ms. President," Kent replied, his head down in shame as he reaffirmed that this was going to be a very long and bad day.
"Are you going to sit down, or are you going to continue delaying our meeting with your tails between your legs?" Luallen asked rhetorically in a raised voice.
As they navigated their way to two vacant seats at the table, Emily and Kent could not help but notice President Claring's expression. It was reasonable for anyone present to assume that President Claring was upset with Kent's remark. However, she appeared to be visibly troubled by something else. Although it seemed she was looking directly at Emily and Kent as they made their way to their assigned seats, President Claring was in a daze, absently looking right through them to some random point on the wall.
"This isn't going to be good," Kent muttered under his breath to Emily. They proceeded to the places at the dark brown stained mahogany table with placards bearing their respective names.
Both Kent and Emily were not only surprised by President Claring's presence but also by the fact that all five of the United States armed service branches were represented in person by their respective senior ranking officials, something Kent himself did not recall ever previously occurring.
"I'm sure all of you have pressing questions." Luallen's voice cracked during this statement. His face was severely scarred and nearly entirely callused, ridden with gashes. His fierce look was complemented by his chiseled chin and two partial ears. He was tall, muscular, and slender at the waist — a very intimidating person who always commanded a dominating presence.
"Luallen demonstrating signs of shock? Weakness? Unprecedented," Kent whispered to Emily. "Is this happening?"
"Shut up. This isn't the time to talk. You're distracting me and embarrassing us," Emily responded.
Anyone who had served with Luallen, and all who knew him, were acutely aware of his fearlessness. Statistics would indicate that he should have been killed in action at least sixteen times over. Tour after tour, when nearly all fellow pilots and soldiers died around him, Luallen had inexplicably found ways to survive. Considering prisoners of war do not typically live to walk once again on United States soil, Luallen had done so on three separate occasions.
None of his subordinates ever questioned his judgment, as they knew second-hand from understanding Luallen's history that being assigned under his command yielded their best chances for survival. Further, none who served under his command ever saw him succumb to, acknowledge, or express any fear whatsoever. Even though neither Kent nor Emily had ever served under Luallen's direction, they knew plenty about him because he was the most decorated African American in the military: a living legend. This understanding of Luallen's history and the respect he garnered from all who knew him made his audible fear that much more disconcerting.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Introspection: Transformation"
Copyright © 2018 Steven Hamburg.
Excerpted by permission of Prodigy Gold Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 | Transformation,
Chapter 2 | Discovery,
Chapter 3 | Eminent Exodus,
Chapter 4 | Fear,
Chapter 5 | Mystery,
Chapter 6 | Exploration,
Chapter 7 | Enlightenment,
Chapter 8 | Perilous Surveys,
Chapter 9 | Investigation,
Chapter 10 | "Civil" War,
Chapter 11 | Agent Hendrix,
Chapter 12 | A Leader Emerging,
Chapter 13 | Obsession,
Chapter 14 | Human Suspects,
Chapter 15 | Breakup,
Chapter 16 | Soul Searching,
Chapter 17 | Return to Shangten,
Chapter 18 | Worldwide Conflict,
Chapter 19 | Revenge,
Chapter 20 | Earth, the New Home,
Chapter 21 | Insanely Fearful,
Chapter 22 | Newfound Purpose,
Chapter 23 | Discovery,
Chapter 24 | Powerlessness,
Chapter 25 | Deception,
Chapter 26 | An Unexpected Sacrifice,
Chapter 27 | More Alien Remains?,
Chapter 28 | Cancer Is The Cure?,
Chapter 29 | Foreign Intelligence,
Chapter 30 | Covert Mission,
Chapter 31 | Harmful Intentions,
Chapter 32 | Relationship Rekindled,
Chapter 33 | Growing Discontent,
Chapter 34 | Relationship Rekindled,
Chapter 35 | An Alien Among Them,
Chapter 36 | Destination Earth Confirmed,
Chapter 37 | Convert Operation Exposed,
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